I am somewhat a collector of religious
artifacts. A wall of many crosses that people have brought me from all over the
world, including the Holy Land, takes up one wall in my bedroom. Some are
handmade by master woodcraftsmen, some are simple a couple splinters of wood
nailed together. But, they were all gifts and are special to see first thing in
the morning and the last thing at night.
I also have several mezuzahs which came from
Israel. Some are metal with beautiful stones inlaid, one is inexpensive Lucite
with Hebrew art and one is made from olive wood. Two of them have kosher
parchments inside with the Shema and other Hebrew documents.
Recently, a good friend brought me set
of prayer beads from Jerusalem made of olive wood. They can also serve as a
rosary for our friends of the Catholic faith, but they are also used by
Protestants as prayer beads as they bring their adoration, confessions, thanks,
and supplications to God. At the bottom is a cross with an inlaid picture of
Jesus. It is a beautiful piece of religious art and I always carry it in my
pocket. When things get tough, I feel a sense of God’s presence when I put my
hand in my pocket and can feel the reminder of prayers.
Well, the other day when I was emptying my
pockets at the end of day, I noticed that the cross (and Jesus) had come
unknotted and was missing. Searching frantically through my pockets, the floor
and everywhere I could think, I finally found Jesus on the floor under my
recliner where I guess he had slipped out of my pocket and under the chair when
I stood up. My sausage-like fingers could not get the strands of cord back
through the holes in the cross and get secure knots tied. I knew it would just
come loose again. So, I resorted to the one item no home should be without. The
glue gun. I heated that thing up, used a needle threader to get the strands
back through the holes, clumsily tied a couple knots, and....hot glued it on
every available surface.
I finished this procedure, and my thoughts began to flow, I realized how we
often lose Jesus. In this country, it is very difficult to grow up without some
knowledge of Jesus, whether you choose to become a believer or not. Jesus is
everywhere. So, how do we lose Him?
We can lose Jesus by just ignoring His
desires for us. To love Him and to love others. To share His Name and His love
with those around us. We can lose Jesus by allowing the ways of the world to
take control of our lives. The television shows we watch, the movies we see,
the jokes we tell, the language we use, and so on. All these can become a part
of our life so quickly that Jesus is shoved to the back and eventually lost.
You can lose Jesus by the friends and associates you choose and the places you
hang out. Mainly, however, you can lose Jesus by not staying faithful to His
House and to His people. It’s so easy, especially this time of year, to take a
Sunday off for a “day at the lake” or to just catch up on sleep or yard work.
Then, the next Sunday, maybe we decide to go to a ballgame and before long,
we’ve missed several Sundays of fellowship in God’s House with God’s people.
And that is where our strength comes from and that is where we can keep Jesus
in our lives.
It would be so much easier if ministers could
just hot-glue Jesus onto our backs permanently, but they can’t. It is up to
them and to us to encourage each other in the faith. You can be the glue for
And for today my friends, this has been the
gospel according to Jimmy.